Here are all the things we said over the course of this game:
- It's better that they miss the playoffs. They had a bad season and there's no reason for them to have a false sense of accomplishment after that.
- Even if they squeak in they're probably going to get pounded by Montreal or Pittsburgh in the first round and who needs that?
- Ryan Miller needs a long off-season in a major way. He's clearly exhausted. No matter how well the rest of the team plays he doesn't have it in him for a long playoff run.
- Almost all of these guys could use a nice long off-season after playing so deep for the last two years.
- Better to be eliminated in a game where we actually had a say in what happened than to be eliminated in a game that happens after the Sabres are done playing. I'd hate to sit through a Flyers game and then still be eliminated when it was over.
And while all of the above is true, it still sucks. I'm glad the playoff race has finally come to its bitter end. I will desperately miss Sabres hockey while its gone and can't believe it's almost over. I'm so annoyed with the team for being so inconsistent all year. I'm really pleased that they played hard until the final horn tonight. I hate these guys. I love these guys.
At the risk of sounding all pretentious, I've been thinking about a quote from Roger Angell for the last few days. He was writing about baseball but I think it's applicable here as well. I'll have more to say later, but for now I'm just going to end with it:
It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look -- I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring -- caring deeply and passionately, really caring -- which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete -- the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball -- seems a small price to pay for such a gift.
(Let's go Buff-a-lo.)